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North Yorkshire Police comment on Toni Speck inquest

Last modified: 8 June 2016 at 02:45pm

On 27 November 2015 a jury delivered their verdict on the death of Ms Toni Speck who was taken ill and died whilst in police custody at Fulford Road Police Station on 2 June 2011.

he jury concluded that Ms Speck was suffering from a rare and difficult to diagnose medical condition which caused her death, and concluded that neither the detaining officers nor the custody officer should have recognised that Ms Speck needed to be taken to Accident & Emergency for emergency medical treatment.

Commenting on the inquest, Deputy Chief Constable Tim Madgwick said: “Our deepest sympathy goes to Ms Speck’s family at this very distressing time.

“This has been a long and complex inquest with the jury carefully considering a range of evidence – including expert medical evidence – over the last three weeks. This was to be expected for such a rare and tragic event, which has deeply affected everyone involved.

“Police officers are trained to deal with people in difficult circumstances on a day-to-day basis, but the situation on that day four years ago involving Ms Speck was extremely challenging.

“The inquest jury has made clear that the police officers who detained Ms Speck and admitted her to custody could not have been expected to diagnose her medical condition – one which would have been difficult even for a medical practitioner to diagnose.  They also could not have recognised that Ms Speck needed to be taken to Accident & Emergency. The jury’s decision reflects the fact that the police behaved appropriately in their detention and treatment of Ms Speck.

“Today, the NHS is required to provide health-based places of safety where the police can take people who are suffering from mental health problems to be assessed, rather than admitting them to police custody.  This has been a very positive development, but unfortunately these facilities were not available at the time of Ms Speck’s detention.”

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